Vacation complete, e-mail dead

Back from a quick vacation trip. Will backfill with some thoughts and pictures on that later, just wanted to share the good feeling of lacking the usual unread e-mail hangover.

I spent the past week deliberately in a wifi-less hotel and only opened the computer once for 30 minutes. Back in the office today, I had only about 80 unread e-mail messages and 31 Skype multichats with unread content. So, what’s so good about it?

For comparision, while working with Helmes before Skype, I used to get about 100 e-mails a day. A minority of them with just myself on the To-line, internal and external mailing lists and tons of carbon copies dominating. A week of out of office time could easily result in a big bold four-digit Inbox “unread” count, I remember. Getting through those took a better part of the week of return, rendering it effectively unproductive.

Sure, unread 31 Skype multichats also contain on average between 5 and 40 participants, hundreds and hundreds of entries, but in a very compact form, mostly staying in the thread and to the point and formatted in condensed inline text as opposed to a typical myriad of small-body-big-file-attachments style of corporate e-mails. There were only three files that people sent me over Skype when I was away, I now accepted just one I needed and declined the others.

When I opened all the relevant links to more information (memos, reports, statistics, news articles, etc) from the multichats, I had a Firefox window with about 12 tabs.

And now, mere six hours later I’m back in business. Communication catchup done, some items marked for later reading. I even had time to get coffee and spend about 1.5 hours in face to face catchups with colleagues.

I seriously considered copying my e-mail out-of-office reply from Henry, who usually just says something in the lines of “I will not reply to e-mail received during my vacation. If it is important enough, you’ll find me when I’m back or just resend then.” Apparently I didn’t need to. We have effectively managed to kill e-mail, at least inside Skype.

Double your revenues

Keep the revenue or double it?
I’ve always hated coins as the most outdated and impractical way to physically represent money, a very virtual concept in itself, especially in the days of electronic banking, chip cards and PayPal accounts. Fortunately Estonian Kroons are all paper notes in real life. We do have coins, but you rearly use something smaller than a 5 kroon paper note if you pay with cash and do not use cards or mobile payments. The pocket weight that goes with every trip to London is much worse.
However, I never thought of the upside of those annoying coins. The owners of binocular vending machines (for lack of a better idea how to call those) on the shore of Tenerife, Canary Islands have left meeting their revenue forecasts up to the randomness of whatever piece of metal a passing tourist might have in their pocket. Same equipment cost, same “effort” but easily doubled revenues if it just … happens so. Very zen. Try to do that in e-business.

Not-so-safety chair

Getting comfortable
I was quite proud of the job I did fixing Kusti‘s child safety chair this time. It’s one of those models which can be used either way, facing the direction of travel or the opposite. In theory, at least, as in the rear-facing mode it usually remains under weird angle and kind of wobbly. Not this time.
… until I looked on the back seat after driving about 10 minutes. There had been a quiet squeak a minute before from the passenger, but one of those happy kinds, so I did not pay attention at once.
Kusti actually seemed to be enjoying the new, kicked-back easy rider style but I’m not sure that is as safe as the chair manufacturer intended.

Aeg on sport

Ets tuli tuppa ja ütles viisakalt “Tere hommikust!”. Siis vaatas kella. 13:27.
“Minutid juhivad,” võttis ta kujunenud olukorra tabavalt kokku.

Liminal devices, or if iPhone met Wii

Jaanus, sharing his initial thoughts on Apple iPhone speculates among other things on where the design could go further:

… taking the accelerometer (the portrait/landscape detector) and the proximity sensor a bit further and having a Nintendo Wii remote-like capacity to have the phone be fully aware of its 3d orientation and motion vectors. Though I can’t really imagine an application and use for it other than, say, theft detector.

Here you go, Jaanus, some potential applications:

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Domestic financial animals

Domestic animals
We have all been convinced by media, American Psycho and personal experience that you can recognize successful bankers from their expensive suits — or at least really smart casual wear — and all-n-all sharp looks no matter what the hour. From Lower Manhattan to London City to … well, I guess, Pegasus in the Old Town, Tallinn.
Please meet Priit and Andres. As any good member of the financial circles would, they really do dress up before meeting their colleagues on a Saturday night.
Healthy. I really feel safe trusting my money with these guys.

Riesling on fire

wine flames
On the last Sunday evening of his vacation Ott suddenly discovered that his glass of Alsace Riesling (to accompany ML‘s tasty first chicken salad with tuna dressing in their new kitchen) is throwing out flames.


Olles üks neist veidratest inimestest, kellel elu- ja töökoha ning perekonna juurdekasvu tõttu tekkis vajadus jalakäimine ja taksosõit asendada oma autoga alles suhteliselt hilises eas, avanes mul neljapäeval võimalus osaleda EcoDrivingu koolitusel. Mis on tänapäeval on lisaks libedasõidu koolitusele eelduseks vahtralehtedest vabanemiseks esimese legaalselt roolitud kahe aasta järel.

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AAPL post-iPhone announcement

So, the Apple iPhone is out. There are enough blogs covering every single aspect of that little piece of history made, so I will not dwell on the product features much. I want one very badly. You want one. And if you don’t, you likely will at some point quite soon.

Instead, let me share some initial thoughts I had from the amateur investor angle. No buy/sell/hold verdicts, just aspects to consider.

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Paikne koer ekslikult ÄPO esikaanel

Äripäev Online esikaanele on sattunud suur pilt Tobist. Levinud legendi kohaselt olla Niklas palganud ta meile varajastel alguspäevadel, kus Skype veel ei toetanud videokõnesid ja edukalt telefoniintervjuu läbinud Tobi puhul selgus alles tema esimesel tööpäeval, et ta on koer.
Vaatamata väidetele, mida artikli pealkiri Tobile omistab, võin kinnitada et ta on tegelikult jätkuvalt väga paikne ja käib iga päev korralikult meie Tallinna kontoris tööl. Komandeeringus ei käi, mingite ärimeestega niisama reisil samuti mitte.